The five team members behind “BeatStream” took home first place at Startup Weekend this past Sunday.
Something sounds like a winner.
Startup Weekend ended on a high note this past Sunday, with a music-based social media website snagging the top spot.
“We think it’s something that could actually really revolutionize the way people share music and we have a lot of faith that this could be a really cool idea,” computer science junior and co-founder Matt Bleifer said. “We want to see it out to its full potential.”
Think Instagram or Twitter for music — that’s the basic concept behind BeatStream.
BeatStream allows users to post their favorite songs and follow other users. This way, users can get a stream of music from all the people they follow.
It pulls files from Rdio, allowing BeatStream to have high-quality sound and album art, Bleifer said.
BeatStream had been drumming in Bleifer’s mind for some time now, he said. Computer science junior and co-founder Robert Long and he are actually roommates, and knew they wanted to work together during the weekend.
The two were trying to come up with something to create when Long, with his own music library playing in the background, said he wanted to do something with music. Bleifer decided to divulge his idea.
The co-founders said BeatStream differs from other music-sharing services like Soundcloud and Spotify. According to Long, Soundcloud is more about an artist sharing his or her music with their audience. BeatStream is about people sharing music with their friends and family, as well as discovering new music users they otherwise wouldn’t have found, he said.
Bleifer said he was “definitely a bit surprised” and felt “a little bit of shock” when BeatStream was announced as the winner of Startup Weekend. He said some great teams came out of the weekend, and considered winning to be a great honor.
“Getting recognition from everybody that what you did is good and that they really liked it is a really cool feeling,” he said.
Before BeatStream was awarded the top prize, Long was less confident than Bleifer. Only a few hours before the team was due to pitch, the website wasn’t live yet.
“Things weren’t working; I was really stressed,” Long said. “Then, we had it working; we got all of these users. And I think we had a really awesome pitch and everything went really well.”
Bleifer worked mostly on the business development, pitch and presentation, as well as a little bit of coding. Long was the lead developer, building the back-end components of the website.
“Watching Robert be pretty zoned in and hacking away and doing his thing was cool,” Bleifer said. “He’s a pretty awesome developer.”
Long’s brother, Rian, joined the team at the last minute and made an introduction video for them that helped the team stand out from everyone else, Bleifer said.
Other memebers of the team included liberal arts and engineering studies junior Stephanie Friend, computer science junior Jill Thetford and general engineering freshman Joey Gavin.
Bleifer said they reached out to friends, family and Facebook users to get people using the site before presenting. When it was time for the unveiling, BeatStream had approximately 40 users and 50 or 60 posts, he said.
And yes, the team did get sleep during the weekend, though not as much as they would have liked.
Bleifer hopes to incorporate a hashtag feature in the future, so if someone were to search #rocknroll, they’d get a stream of everything tagged “rock ‘n’ roll.” He ultimately hopes to make the service as big as any other music provider, as well as something that could be used by artists — ideally, if a band were to start trending on BeatStream, it would impact their success.
“And, also to get a very large user base and be able to affect a lot of people in the area of music would be really rewarding and awesome,” Bleifer said.
Taking second place was an app called eXpresso which allows users to pre-order, purchase and set a pick up time for their morning coffee at coffee shops. Third place went to Pigeon, an app that allows companies and businesses to get feedback from consumers using short video recording.